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Author Topic: Charles Bronson's harmonica  (Read 14331 times)
O'Cangaceiro
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« on: July 19, 2008, 09:28:11 PM »

I don't know if this has been discussed before. Charles Bronson plays the harmonica several times during the movie, and there are only a few notes wheezing from his harmonica. However, anyone who has played harmonica knows that those sounds can only be played with a chromatic harmonica. To me, what Charles Bronson is playing is a diatonic harmonica, and in my opinion there is no way that particular harmonica could ever emit those sounds.
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Ben Tyreen
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2008, 10:33:41 PM »

  And CB never really plays the harmonica, he just holds it in front of his mouth which can be sort of distracting once you notice it.  Never mind though, he's a badass. Cool
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dave jenkins
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2008, 11:26:18 PM »

I don't know if this has been discussed before. Charles Bronson plays the harmonica several times during the movie, and there are only a few notes wheezing from his harmonica. However, anyone who has played harmonica knows that those sounds can only be played with a chromatic harmonica. To me, what Charles Bronson is playing is a diatonic harmonica, and in my opinion there is no way that particular harmonica could ever emit those sounds.
That's interesting. If you can, post pictures of the two kinds of harmonica so that we can see how they differ.
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O'Cangaceiro
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2008, 03:43:10 AM »

This is a typical chromatic harmonica (notice the button at the side)

http://www.aues21.dsl.pipex.com/images/BigJohnChromaticHarmonica.jpg

And this is a diatonic harmonica (no button).

http://www.themusicroom-online.co.uk/images/meisterklasse.jpg

You can google the words chromatic and diatonic harmonica, and you will see what are the differences. But basically, the chromatic harmonica has a button on the side which allows you to play the normal major scale, and with the button depressed, gives you all the half steps or notes in between.

http://www.harmonicalessons.com/overview_dvsc.html


When I was a teenager (60s and 70s) I used to play harmonica. I started collecting records with Morricone Spaghetti Western soundtracks on the early 70s, and I have played the sounds of "The Man with the Harmonica" many times. Of course, I did so with a chromatic harmonica, as a diatonic harmonica do not have that capability.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2008, 03:47:00 AM by Bandolero » Logged
cigar joe
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2008, 05:29:36 AM »

The thing to remember is that Harmonica is just playing what we hear Frank play at the end, that is what the characters in the film hear, like the German title translation which is  "Play Me The Song Of Death",  but WE hear Morricone's "music of the gods" superimposed upon it, hence we hear the chromatic harmonica.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2008, 02:13:26 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2008, 07:35:25 AM »

Good point, Joe. SL plays with diegetic and non-diegetic sounds in a way unlike other filmmakers. As a result, the audience really has to pay attention.

Bandolero, thanks for the info and the links. I always learn something new on this board . . .
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2008, 07:47:59 AM »

The thing to remember is that Harmonica is just playing what we hear Frank play at the end, that is what the characters in the film hear, like the German title translation which is  "Play Me The Song Of Death",  but WE hear Morricone's "music of the gods" superimposed upon it, hence we hear the diatonic harmonica.
I think you mean "chromatic" at the end there, per what Bandolero has told us. Anyway, I've added an entry in the SL Encyclopedia on this subject drawing from what has been discussed here (I quote you, Joe, and amend chromatic for diatonic). The name of the new enty is Harmonica's harmonica.
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2008, 11:35:26 AM »

OK - so just WHERE is that Harmonica today??  A good topic for "History's Lost and Found" show.

Like we all found out a few years ago at the Leone exhibition that Eastwood had the poncho, pistols, etc....
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cigar joe
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2008, 02:15:13 PM »

Quote
you, Joe, and amend chromatic for diatonic

dj fixed it .
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TheManFromWilderness
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2008, 04:29:13 AM »

thanks  Bandolero, you are are right. Afro
I wish , I would like the get harmonicas's theme musical notes!!!I have not seen it anywhere Sad
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« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2008, 02:25:24 PM »

You can do it with a diatonic, but you have to 'bend the notes'.  I gave the notes in the link below (irrelevant of key)

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=800.0

A diatonic will gve a wailing sound as you bend from one note to another.  A chromatic will shift from note to note a bit more sudden.  I also put in a bit later on about how to bend notes, but its hard to put into words.

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TheManFromWilderness
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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2008, 02:33:15 PM »

thank you very much , I will try it Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2008, 02:38:08 PM »

You're welcome.  I've just seen in the same link that Marmota gives a link to another link that has the notation.  Funnily enough in that link I describe 'How to bend notes' in a different way; but I can't remember writing it even though it was a couple of years later.  Must've been on the meths
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2008, 02:40:17 PM »

Yeah i can contend to that. I used to have a little "Beginners" harmonica i got from a freind. I spent some time trying to get harmonica's theme right and i figured you have to bend the notes. The way i did it on my harmonica was by over-blowing or inhaling sharply. What i got was a much more diluted theme, but i got it none the less.
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2008, 09:05:41 AM »

SO that's the reason why I am unable to play those sounds. I have two harmonicas (a smaller and a two sided, big), but none of them has the button. My father plays well, but he can't do it, too.

I adore that sound. It's like the wind screaming in a ghost town...
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